Presidential "Leadership" Doesn't Work

Intel Photos / Flickr

One other thing about the death of background checks in the Senate. It’s further proof that the Beltway theory of presidential power—Obama needs to show “leadership” to move things forward—is wrong. Here’s what President Obama did in the service of passing new gun laws:

  • He gave a widely-heralded speech after the Newtown shooting, demanding action from Congress.
  • He held an event in January, announcing his new gun control proposals, with parents and children from Newtown in attendance.
  • He followed up at the State of the Union, demanding that Congress put new gun laws to a full vote of the Senate.
  • He held an event in early April, again demanding action on gun laws from the Senate.
  • And just a few days ago, the mother of a Newtown victim gave Obama’s weekly address.

None of this had any effect on the Republican senators who filibustered the Manchin-Toomey compromise, nor did it affect the red-state Democrats who feared political attacks for backing new gun laws. It simply didn’t work.

Not that this will change the views of Beltway pundits, of course.

Comments

If Harry Reid had implemented actual filibuster reform, your headline would read "Presidential Leadership Works." That aside, because he didn't prevail in this instance doesn't mean presidential leadership never works. Charlie Pierce wrote something similar last week when it became apparent that the measure was in trouble, and it sounds a lot like what my daughter says when she's been encouraged to try something and it didn't work out. I don't tell her to grow up, because she's a kid. You're not a kid.

It's good that you put 'leadership' in quotes. But sadly that is the only indication you give that you understand that what the President has been doing is not leadership. He's just pontificating. I had a whole argument written in my head describing the difference. But then I saw that Maureen Dowd already wrote it. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/opinion/sunday/dowd-president-obama-is-no-bully-in-the-pulpit.html?src=me&ref=general

It's good that you put 'leadership' in quotes. But sadly that is the only indication you give that you understand that what the President has been doing is not leadership. He's just pontificating. I had a whole argument written in my head describing the difference. But then I saw that Maureen Dowd already wrote it. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/opinion/sunday/dowd-president-obama-is-no-bully-in-the-pulpit.html?src=me&ref=general

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